My play The Sisyphi, a play of absurdist vignettes about meaningless, futility, and pushing a gigantic boulder up a hill (it’s fun, I swear!), had a partial table reading with Trap Street Theater. The response in the backroom of the bar The Pikey was fantastic and gave me a lot of material to work with as I keep working on this project. The reading included the acting talent of Katie Pelensky, Chad Eschman, Faith D'Amato, Anne Berkowitz, Thi Nguyen, Kimberly Alexander, and Toni Maddocks. It was featured in a night of other work with the playwrights Tony Werner, Katie Markovich, Siobhan Gilbert, and Tracy Potter.
This fall, I was selected to join Playground LA Writers Pool. Every month, the Writers Pool gets a prompt and has three days to produce a ten-minute play. Six are selected for a staged reading and then another six will get a full production as part of a best of night. It’s been fun to ditch preciousness and just produce some stuff.
This month the prompt was “Fall Down, Get Up” and my short play “A Small Breach in Protocol at Big Rick’s Rockin’ Skydive Academy” was selected for a staged reading. It’s a play about what one thinks about when plummeting from the sky. The reading was great. Directed by Paris McCarthy, the reading featured the acting talent of Krystal Mosley, Tobin Mitnick, Carolyn Deskin, and Nick Barnes.
I'm happy to announce that my screenplay Sheepish won first prize in the Alfred P. Sloan Screenwriting Prize. It's a $15,000 prize which I hope to use to a) help pay off some of those damn student loans and b) save up for the future development of this project.
Sheepish is a screenplay about how a scientist struggles to communicate his research to the greater public. When you study "gay sheep" things can get kind of hard to explain. The Museum of the Moving Image's Science on Film blog did an interview with me after I won. You can read it here.
I’m back from London after Tete-a-Tete. It was an incredible experience. But don’t take my word for it, check out all this press from the past couple of months!
This summer, ID, Please lives up to its internationalist themes by having an international premiere in London. Along with a whole slew of exciting new, contemporary opera, ID, Please joins Tête à Tête Opera Festival for a performance on July 25. Much of the original team that worked on the show in Pittsburgh will hop on a plane to London to remount our opera about international border crossing. Soosan and I will also participate in a panel discussion about how and why we made the opera.
If you happen to find yourself in London this summer, tickets and details are here.
ID, Please, the opera for which I wrote the libretto, opens this week as part of CoOpera, a festival of new opera, which is a collaboration between the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, Music and Heinz School of Management, as well as Pittsburgh Opera.
Written with composer Soosan Lolavar, ID, Please is an opera about immigration and border security. Which has been a topical theme of late... and a personal one. Earlier this year, President Trump's "muslim ban" meant that for a few days it looked like Soosan wouldn't be able to return because she is a dual citizen in the UK and Iran. It's been a crazy couple of weeks.
Given the international and timely nature of the story behind our opera, Soosan and our opera were featured last month in the Times of London, The Hollywood Reporter, The BBC, and the Associated Press (see below). Most recently, The Pittsburgh Post Gazette covered the opening of CoOpera and interviewed Soosan upon her triumphant return to the US to see the premiere of our opera:
My ten-minute play Last Night at the Cherry Pie opens this weekend as part of St. Louis's That Uppity Theatre Company's Briefs Festival of LGBT short plays. I'm really pleased to be part of this effort (even though it's been a remote collaboration), because from what I can tell Briefs has been a bit of a gay institution in St. Louis, and this is unfortunately it's final year. The festival is also a raising funds for the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis.